For many voters in Plateau State, the misfortune of PDP in the last election was mainly caused by the electoral umpire, INEC, writes GOLOK NANMWA.
Ruing the outcome of the Presidential election last week, supporters of PDP in Plateau State have blamed the role of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the election that led to PDP’s defeat by the opposition.
According to the state governor, Jonah Jang, while thanking the people of his Senatorial zone for their support in the Senatorial election, especially people from the Northern Senatorial zone for supporting his candidature, he however expressed reservations on the weaknesses exhibited by INEC.
“We, however, are highly concerned at the deliberate disenfranchisement of a large number of eligible voters in his senatorial zone who were denied their right to vote by INEC owing to no cause of theirs. They had been subjected to registering twice, yet denied the opportunity to vote as no permanent voters’ card was issued to them after these registration processes.
“It is also disheartening that INEC turned a blind eye where it was established that there were incidences of under-aged voting by minors who have not yet attained the age of 18. It is worrisome that the people who ordinarily should not have any business with the polling units were not only allowed, but were in possession of PVCs”, he said.
This statement was contained in a press statement signed by Garuba Clinton, an executive assistant to the governor and made available to newsmen in Jos. The governor described his victorious outing at the 2015 polls as an act of God and has dedicated the victory to the people of Plateau State.
“We call on all Plateau people to be resolute in their decision to continue to support the PDP and come out to demonstrate this spirit of patriotism in the forthcoming general elections”.
In addition to the cases mentioned above, there were incidences of over voting, which should warrant outright cancellation as required by the guidelines for the election in areas such as the Garba Daho Ward but in direct contravention of the guidelines for the election, INEC went ahead to count and collate results from such polling units.
On the contrary, polling units where the PDP candidate had greater support, ballot papers supplied were not adequate and in variance with the total number of registered voters for such polling units. Even in places where the results were contested, but upheld at the polling units, INEC upturned such results based on a mere verbal protest by APC agents at the collation centre. Concerned citizens, thus wondered why INEC would allow itself to be intimidated.
According to the governor, “We believe that INEC is facing a lot of challenges at this time” but he beckoned on the Commission to improve on the lapses noticed in this election before the April 11 governorship election so as to give the needed credibility to the elections.
Jang also called on all Plateau people who believe in the progress, growth and development of the State to come out en mass to support and vote the PDP during the governorship election as it is the party that will guarantee the continued growth of the State, the statement further added.
In a related development Jang has implored those he offended in the course of his duty as the state’s helmsman to forgive him. Mr. Jang made the appeal at a town hall meeting with the people of Shendam Local Government Area, as he traversed the state to garner support for the Peoples Democratic Party in the forthcoming elections.
The governor said if he had offended anybody, it was not deliberate; pointing out that it was because of his human nature and the exigency of the office he occupies. He said it is human to err and that it is not easy for any government, in eight years, to satisfy everybody. Mr. Jang, however, called on everyone to keep faith with the PDP, stressing that the party would not disappoint them. No record of violence was recorded in the state during and after the elections.
Meanwhile Jang has congratulated all winners of last Saturday’s poll, even as he commended the maturity displayed by the PDP followers following the announcement of the results of the Presidential election. He urged them to remain steadfast in subsequent elections.
In a press statement made available to newsmen yesterday and signed by his director of press affairs James Mannok, the governor dedicated his victory at the Senatorial election to the people of Plateau State. He also expressed appreciation to voters’ turn out and peaceful conduct, saying it reflects that our democratic journey is growing. The governor, who is the leader of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, urged them to remain steadfast in subsequent elections.
In a related development the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Part, PDP, in Plateau State, Senator Gyang Pwajok has blamed President Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat during the March 28 presidential election on what he described as politics of Permanent Voters’ Cards, PVCs distribution by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Pwajok, who spoke with journalists in Jos, the state capital recently, believed that the outcome of the poll in which the APC candidate, Gen Mohammadu Buhari defeated President Goodluck Jonathan would have been different if INEC had ensured even distribution of PVCs across the states according to the number of registered voters.
Pwajok said: “In my ward like many other wards across the country, we had an experience where 818 people with zero registration progressed to re-register, and then when the PVCs were supposed to be given to them, only eight out of the number were given. That means that over 800 people were disenfranchised by INEC and yet the person has no way of getting the PVC himself except going through the electoral body. So, it means that there was politics of distribution of PVCs, which affected the outcome of the elections.”
He called on the INEC to ensure that no voter is disenfranchised during the remaining elections by allowing the use of TVC for those who don’t have PVC for no fault of theirs. The governorship candidate also expressed confidence that the party will emerge victorious during the forthcoming governorship poll in the state, pointing out that the politics normally played at the national level is usually not the same with what obtains at the state level.
He said despite the loss of the party’s presidential candidate during the last election, the party has a bright future in the state in the governorship poll.